Child Restraint Tips: Finding and Installing the Right Car Seat for Your Child
"Five siblings died when the pickup truck their father was driving was struck head-on by another pickup truck traveling in the wrong lane, and none of children appeared to be in seat belts" the State Patrol said Wednesday."
"A 3-year-old girl was killed in a crash on the State thruway when she was ejected from the back seat on Wednesday after the sport utility vehicle was struck by a sedan. It is thought that the child probably unbuckled herself from her child car seat, the state police said yesterday."
"A mother faces charges for the murder of her 3 year old child, who died in a car crash. She also faces charges of child abuse and neglect for the injuries suffered by her other three children ages 6 months, 18 months and 4 years old. According to authorities, none of the four children where in car seats and the mother had been previously cited twice for not having her children in car seats."
These are all shocking and extreme cases where a parents failure to buckle up or enforce the use of restraints with their children have brought on catastrophic results. Even though most parents think this would never happen to them, believe that their children are safe and that they have installed their child's car seat properly, Safe Kids estimates that 4 out of every 5 children who is placed in a car seat is improperly restrained. In 2002 a Safe Kids Campaign found that 81.6 percent of child restraints were used incorrectly, with an average of three errors per restraint.
Therefore it is very important that all the necessary precautions be taken to ensure that the car seat has been properly installed into you vehicle and that your child has been properly restrained in a child passenger restraint that is appropriate for their age and weight, before you even start you vehicle.
Keep these tips in mind:
- Make sure you purchase a car seat that is appropriate for your child's age, weight, and height.
- Do not purchase a second hand car seat, at a yard sale, or swap meet, etc. (You do not know if that car seat has been in a crash, or if it has all the correct and appropriate parts.)
- The best car seat is one that fits your child, your car, and your needs.
- Always read the instruction manual before you install the car seat. (Not all car seat are the same, and may have slight differences such as age and weight limits)
- After the car seat has been installed you should not be able to move it more than an inch in any direction.
- The retainer clip on the harness should be at the child's chest (level with their armpits)
- Test to ensure that the harness straps are tight enough. (Pinch both sides of the harness straps at the child's shoulders, at the same time. If you can pinch any fabric, the harness is too loose.)
- If you have a doubt or any questions contact a certified technician, or have your car seat inspected at a check up site. (Safely On the Move Resource Hotline Toll Free 1 (866) 700-7686)
- Do not rush to move your child into the next car seat, or to get them out of a booster seat, and into a lap/shoulder belt only. (Some children need to ride in a booster seat until they are 8 or even 10 years old.)
If you have any questions or need a low cost car seat please call Sara Woo at (619) 594-0784 or toll free (866) 700-7686